No-nonsense landlord’s mission to keep ‘undesirables’ out of his pub

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Meet the no-nonsense pub landlord who will do whatever it takes to keep “undesirables” out of his pub.

Toby Flint claims that “once you’re barred, you’re barred” and does not mind dealing with mouthy customers himself rather than leaving them to security.

He has been reigning over The Scarbrough Hotel in Leeds for almost 20 years.

The pub, whose name derives from the original landlord, Henry Scarbrough, and not the seaside town, has been operating on Bishopgate Street in the city centre since 1826.

Toby has spoken about what it takes to survive in the pub trade.

The hard-headed landlord gave three pieces of advice: keep it traditional; hire friendly staff; and most importantly, keep the “undesirables” out.

He told Leeds Live: “This is a pub, we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel.

“In a traditional pub, keep it clean and tidy and keep the undesirable people out as best you can.

“You build a reputation. You can build a really bad reputation really quickly.

“If someone misbehaves, you’ll need to ask them to curtail their behaviour. If you don’t, then you could start being overrun by them.

“It’s okay to have a drink, it’s not okay to be ‘completely-drunk-out-of-your-head’ and you have to know the difference.

“Saturday is the main night [where you most often get into trouble].

“I tend to go up to them personally, if it’s a group. I go speak to them and say ‘alright guy, please calm down’. Ninety-nine percent of the time, that’ll sort it out.

“It’s too late when they’ve already started fighting; you’ve already missed the opportunity to get in. If there’s a problem, you need to get there early.

“The ones who don’t like being told ‘I’m not going to serve you’, they leave and they say ‘It’s not very good in there’. Perfect! That’s what I want you to think.

“With me, if you misbehave so badly, I’ll just bar you and once you’re barred, you’re barred. I don’t un-bar people.

“But this is the city centre, I have the passing trade to be able to do that.

“If you’re in the outskirts with lots of families and locals then you might have to rein in the behaviour a little bit.”

Toby is originally from Buckinghamshire and has been running The Scarbrough Hotel since 2003.

He moved to Leeds in 1995 to study biochemistry and applied molecular biology as post-graduate.

While studying for a PHD, he worked part-time behind a bar and over time his priorities began to change.

As the years went by, he realised more and more that he just loved working in pubs and interacting with punters.

So, he packed in the PHD and has never looked back.

Toby chuckles: “I’ve been here long enough to still be told ‘You’re not from Yorkshire!’ It’s quite funny, it’s cute.

“Yorkshire folk are very proud about their heritage, it’s very funny.

“Sometimes you get Yorkshiremen wondering why a Yorkshireman isn’t running a premium Yorkshire pub, that’s quite funny.”

The Buckinghamshire man loves nothing more than making customers smile and seeing them coming back to the pub for a repeat visit.

The Scarbrough Hotel is currently number two on Tripadvisor’s list of the “best bars and pubs” in Leeds.

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